Food and Eating



Food and Eating

            “The best sauce is hunger.” French Proverb.

            From a strictly biological perspective, eating food is simply a method of supplying the body with a source of energy (calories), bodily building parts (fats, protein, and carbohydrates), and chemical facilitators (vitamins etc.).  Because food is absolutely essential to species survival, the drive to eat (hunger and craving strength) is extremely powerful and resilient, and the pleasure derived from eating is extraordinary.  As it turns out, animals, including humans, are quite inefficient, and accordingly, they need to refuel two to six times per day.  This would be real drudgery were it not for the pleasure associated with eating and the amazing creativity of humans in fashioning a myriad of variations of taste and texture.  In modern societies, the real problem with food is that the potency of all of the culinary delights induces us to consume more calories than we actually need to function.  (We are programmed to store the excess calories as fat as a safeguard against future food scarcity.)  While at an early point in our species history we might have used thousands of calories a day to hunt down, capture, cook, and eat our protein sources, now we can purchase a years worth of calories by engaging in essentially verbal legerdemain while seated.  The net effect of our “success” at food production, and reducing the physical labor required for survival, is that our caloric storage departments, fat cells, have grown beyond our aesthetic toleration.  Managing this issue is crucial to physical wellbeing and social opportunities.

            While food is of vital importance to survival, in many ways its importance is exaggerated.  Popular folk wisdom and half-science regularly suggests that subtle variations in food intake are responsible for almost every disease, overall life span, physical beauty, youthfulness and mood regulation.  In fact, if you manage your food intake, such that, you stay within 20 lbs. of your ideal weight, and you eat a variety of foods from the various groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, meat), you will avoid most food related problems without having to obsess with food theories.  The marginal increase in health that comes from following food theories is simply not worth the resulting reduction in the pleasures of eating.  Seek balance, not perfection.

Food Advice

1.            Eat when you are mildly hungry.  Don’t eat out of habit when you're not hungry and don’t structure your life, such that, you fast and then eat when extremely hungry.

2.            Don’t adopt a vegan diet.

3.            Eat four to five small meals a day rather than two or three larger meals.

4.            Drink green tea at least once a week.  Drink coffee freely but not more than five times per day.

5.            Drink at least one full glass of water (clear) per day.

6.            After age 30, drink between two and five glasses of wine per week; but do not drink more than two glasses of wine in any given day.  Alternatively, drink an equivalent amount (in terms of alcohol content) of beer or hard liquor.  If you can’t follow this rule, don’t drink alcohol at all.

7.            Females should eat 6 oz. of red meat at least twice per month.

8.            Males and Females, after age 30, should eat at least 6 oz. of salmon at least twice per month.

9.            When dieting, consume high levels of protein, low levels of carbohydrates, drink lots of water, and take a general vitamin per day.  Take a rest from your diet for one day every two weeks and plan your diet, such that, you do not loose more than three pounds per week.

10.            After age 20, eat a dark green vegetable at least three days a week (3 meals).

11.            Eat a fresh fruit at least three days a week (3 meals).

12.            Eat slowly and savor your food.

13.            Regarding dinner, avoid eating alone and avoid eating while doing another task. 

14.            Once a month, splurge, and eat what you like without adhering to any rules or diets.

15.            Learn to cook or make at least two kinds of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Don’t structure your life, such that, you need someone else to prepare your food and have no independence.

16.            Never attempt to control weight gain by using laxatives or inducing vomiting.

17.            Learn the calorie count in your favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods.